domenica 7 maggio 2017

Mithril Haradan Mailed Infantry (M294) - 1993

This is one of my favourite Mithril figures of all times. I purchased this sometimes in 1998-2001, probably from the old Avalon shop near Stazione Centrale in Milan. My guess is that they had this figure on display since its issue, in 1993: unfortunately they never sold well.

It took me many months to decide to assemble its three parts and paint them red, white and black. It was a quick and dirty painbrush, but effective, and I am still happy about how it turned out.

I spent years looking for this figure when I rediscovered my old box of miniatures in 2010: somehow it was missing. It resurfaced in early 2017, at a house of some friends, stuffed in a jar together with some Citadel figures we used for WFRP. What a pleasant surprise!

I always liked very much anything from Harad, since the time I read Warlords of the Desert in the early 1990s. That was my first MERP adventure material I bought and somehow imprinted me with the exotic charm of Middle-earth's Southlands.

But the reason I especially love this sculpt is the sculpt itself, the exceptional harmony of it, the dynamic movement of the fighter raising the shield to protect his chest and face and thrusting forward with his sabre, half-parrying and half-lunging at the enemy.

The movement is clearer without the shield. Seriously, this is one of the masterworks of Chris Tubb.

giovedì 4 maggio 2017

Celebril Sirdaryan, High Elven Diplomat - GW Lothern Sea Guard Champion (1999)

This miniature dates from 1999-2001, freshly bought in a blister at the Games Workshop shop in Milan. We are talking at the Lothern Sea Guard Champion issued in 1999: no idea about the sculptor, unfortunately: if you know, leave me a comment.
The figure is good. Sadly, while still painting it it fell to the ground, resulting in the sword losing its tip. Still, I was quite proud of it, when I painted it as Celebril Sirdaryan, one of the NPCs of my WFRP campaign.

Unfortunately, I didn't have much technique at the time and, looking at it today, I find it appalling. That's why I decided to repaint it a few months ago. What was wrong with it? For a start, it's too white: it was primed white and painted with a single white layer, then washed in black. It's plain, dull and dirty. The base is too simple, making he figure look even flatter.

A few words about Celebril. He's an interesting NPC, with a potential to become a PC. Born in the outer realm of Cothique in Ulthuan, Celebril came from the minor nobility, an ancient family that had not been relevant in politics for several thousand years, ruling over lands covered mostly by woodland and populated by hunters and loggers. Last of five brothers, Celebril spent a childhood listening to the stories of famous ancestors who had been seafarers and explorers and dreaming to live up to their glory, one day. Lacking connections and means, Celebril studied hard and worked harder, exercising his natural talents in talking and listening, slowly making his way up in society with recommendations from his teacher, then from a merchant of Armille, then a prominent nobleman and finally from the very king of Cothique, whom he served as envoy, inspector and tax collector. It was Falanor IV that recommended him for the service of the Phoenix King, in Lothern, where the young and ambitious Elf was put to service in a special bureau in charge of collecting delicate information - the Ears of the King. Celebril travelled all over Ulthuan and the colonies of the New World talking to traders, officials and nobles, assuming different identities depending on the need of the moment. Celebril was good, perhaps too good.

One day, it happened that his supervisors recommended him for a very delicate position: he was to be sent in the service of a Sea Elf adventurer, Gelmir of Dralas, who had gained himself a position of power in one of the Border Princedoms in the Old World. Posing as an expert in diplomacy, Celebril would support Gelmir, an unofficial ally of Ulthuan, and at the same time he would spy on him sending regular reports to the Ears of the King. Celebril had been immensely excited to travel so far from home, and very proud of the opportunity, but only until he learned that all the other "experts" travelling with him had been sent to Dralas as a mean to get rid of them. There was a pedant bureaucrat, an effemminate archmage, a creepy loremaster, a rowdy musician with a human mother and a painter with a tendency to be excessively promiscous. Still, Celebril tried to make the best of his opportunity, serving Gelmir as best as he could and, at the same time, becoming the best friend of everybody at his court so that he could learn all the secrets worth to be shared with the Ear of the King. This, until Gelmir seriously started to doubt Celebril and decided to send him as an envoy to his main rival, Prince Ettore Malatesta of the mountainous and wild land of Artesia...

Celebril is young but ambitious, smart and exceedingly skilled in talking. He dresses in elegant and precious clothes as befts an envoy of the Regent of Dralas, but he can keep a low profile when needed. He can fight, of course, and carries a sword, but he is always mindful that words can be deadlier than a blade, if spoken to the right people at the right time. He is, most of all, one that dreams big, and tries to make the best of every opportunity, something which has won him the sympathy of Gelmir.

I decided to limit the repainting of this figure to the minimum, by simply adding blue to the overcoat. The white undercoat and other white elements were painted grey and then highlighted in white. The skin was washed with red ink and then highlighted with skin colour. Similarly, metal was blackwashed and highlighted again in the same basic metal colour.

To add some complexity, I covered the base with sand and repainted in green, and added, as a final touch, some gold on the covercoat representing precious embroidery.

It's amazing how much can change with some simple improvements!